Wild Wild West Thought Puzzle

Wild Wild West Thought Puzzle

This is a discussion on Wild Wild West Thought Puzzle within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I just heard this puzzle on the radio, and thought I would put the scenario out there and see what the DC.com experts think: ====================================== ...

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Thread: Wild Wild West Thought Puzzle

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Wild Wild West Thought Puzzle

    I just heard this puzzle on the radio, and thought I would put the scenario out there and see what the DC.com experts think:
    ======================================
    In a wild west town, a scoundrel was caught cheating at a card game at the Dirty Dog Saloon. A quick but honest trial was held and he was of course found guilty. In this town cheating at cards was a very serious offense punishable by death. The judge could simply have ordered the man to be shot but he knew the citizens of the town enjoyed games of chance so he came up with an unusual sentence.

    Speaking to the condemned man, the judge proclaimed, “At high noon tomorrow, you will be tied up to the flagpole in the middle of town. The marshall, an expert pistol marksman who never misses, will load two bullets into his six-shot revolver and spin the cylinder. He will then aim directly at your chest from 20 paces away and pull the trigger. If the chamber should happen to be empty, he will pull the trigger one more time. If after this, you are still alive, you will get on your horse and ride away, you lucky devil!”

    The next day, high noon arrives. A crowd gathers on Main Street to witness the proceedings. The condemned man is tied to the flagpole. A lonely tumbleweed blows by. The parson recites a solemn prayer while the marshall loads two bullets into his trusty Colt 45 and spins the cylinder. The clock in the courthouse tower chimes 12 times. The crowd holds its breath. The marshall takes 20 paces, turns towards the prisoner, takes aim and click! The chamber is empty. The gun does not fire. At this point, the marshall says to the condemned man, “You’re a gambling man, so let’s make this more interesting. Before I take my second shot, I’ll give you a choice. Should I take aim and fire, or should I spin the cylinder one more time before pulling the trigger?”

    The condemned man thinks about it and he says, “Just go ahead and shoot.” Now is he being brave? Is he being stupid? Or does he know something that might improve his chances?
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Unless there's something I don't know about the way that firearm works, he's being stupid. One chamber has been proven empty, giving him a now 1/5 chance of being shot. However, if the marshall spins it again he has yet another 1/6 chance of being shot.
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    VIP Member Array Brass63's Avatar
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    Yes, he's being stupid. His odds after the 'click' are 2/5 of getting shot...(since there are 2 live rounds).
    If the marshal spins the cylinder...the odds go back down to 1/3.
    The United States Constitution © 1791. All Rights Reserved.

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brass63 View Post
    Yes, he's being stupid. His odds after the 'click' are 2/5 of getting shot...(since there are 2 live rounds).
    If the marshal spins the cylinder...the odds go back down to 1/3.
    I agree with Brass on the math.

    Two questions.

    Can he see the placement of the round in the cyclinder and knows the rotation of the cyclinder is going to land on a empty cylinder?

    Did the Marshall skip a space between the two rounds?

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    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKinNY View Post
    I agree with Brass on the math.

    Two questions.

    Can he see the placement of the round in the cyclinder and knows the rotation of the cyclinder is going to land on a empty cylinder?

    Did the Marshall skip a space between the two rounds?

    I don't know the answer yet... not until next week. But, let's assume the guy could not see the chambers at 20 paces.

    Now, whether or not there is an empty chamber between the rounds should not change the odds.

    But, because it's a puzzle, I'm sure we're missing something here.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paaiyan View Post
    Unless there's something I don't know about the way that firearm works, he's being stupid. One chamber has been proven empty, giving him a now 1/5 chance of being shot. However, if the marshall spins it again he has yet another 1/6 chance of being shot.
    So why is that stupid? Isn't it better to have 1/6 odds than 1/5 odds?
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Well I wasn't thinking. Telling the marshal to just shoot give him 2/5 to get shot instead of 1/5.

    He's telling the marshal to just shoot, not to spin the chamber. So he's giving up two 2/6 chances of being shot for a 2/6 and a 2/5. That's stupid, he's a little more likely to be shot.
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    VIP Member Array joker1's Avatar
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    Colonel Mustard in the library with the lead pipe.
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    Member Array UnklFungus's Avatar
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    My guess is he is able to see the light in the empty chambers and he knows what's up.
    “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

    Patrick Henry
    Quote Originally Posted by UnklFungus
    If it is ok to disarm legal citizens to reduce crime, then doesn't it stand to disband the military to prevent war?

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    Member Array 8plus1's Avatar
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    It's SA right? he didn't mention bringing the hammer back! or does that tidbit of info really won't matter.

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    Member Array lands5's Avatar
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    I like what unkle fungus said. I'm going to go with that.

    8plus1: I'm guessing that doesn't mater. And if he didn't bring the hammer back, it would be DA.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnklFungus View Post
    My guess is he is able to see the light in the empty chambers and he knows what's up.
    Well, the puzzle states that it's "high noon". So there would not be any light shining through the chambers.

    Also, the classic definition of a "pace" is 30". 20 paces would be 600" or 50'. Could you see whether a bullet is in a chamber at 50'?

    As an experiment I put my revolver on the other side of my house, 20 paces away, and I could barely see the gun, much less the cylinder.
    Last edited by JonInNY; April 12th, 2010 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Spelling
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Member Array UnklFungus's Avatar
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    Ah well, I tried...
    “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

    Patrick Henry
    Quote Originally Posted by UnklFungus
    If it is ok to disarm legal citizens to reduce crime, then doesn't it stand to disband the military to prevent war?

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    It depends on whether or not the bullets were loaded consecutively (that is, one next to the other). If this is so, then the trigger was pulled on one of four consecutive empty chambers. There is a one in four chance that it was the LAST empty chamber, with a live round following, leaving a 3 in 4 chance that it was NOT the last, and the following chamber is also empty. Thus, the cheater has a 3/4 chance of surviving if the marshal simply pulls the trigger again. If he spins again, we revert to the 4/6 (or 2/3) chance that the hammer will fall on an empty chamber. Three fourths is better than two thirds, so, pull it again without re-spinning.

    If the bullets were loaded randomly, then, yes, re-spin for the 4/6 (2/3) chance of an empty chamber vs. the 3/6 (1/2) chance on the re-pull.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    It depends on whether or not the bullets were loaded consecutively (that is, one next to the other).
    Yes, this is true, and a good analysis, but the guy would not know that beforehand. There must be something that he can deduce from 50' away.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

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